Social Enterprises Pitch for $100,000 in Funding

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Photos by Susan Post

Social enterprise accelerator SEA Change awarded $100,000 in funding to eight social enterprises at a pitch event wrapping up the 14-week program.

It’s the third year for the accelerator program which works with idea-stage concepts to established organizations to offer advice, mentorship and hands-on training from industry experts to advance their business plans that aim to generate a measurable social impact.

Of 14 enterprises in the cohort, eight were selected to pitch for $100,000 in funding provided by The Columbus Foundation, IGS Energy, The Business of Good Foundation and United Way. Organizations also received in-kind services from a number of local businesses which included coworking space, business mentorship and services from previous SEA Change participants Yocum Law and web design firm Makeshark.

Four businesses received $5,000 each and a mix of in-kind services including Shatter, The Comeback Collective, Lilac Pack and the Family Mentor Foundation.

With a motto of “Shatter Ceilings Rise Together,” Shatter creates a software platform that counteracts unconscious bias in the recruiting process. Free to applicants and funded by companies, Shatter helps women identify better opportunities, and recruiters keep their pipeline filled with qualified female candidates.

The Comeback Collective is tackling the high recidivism rate by offering current and formerly incarcerated individuals an online personal development and support platform. Covering everything from communication and soft skills, to financial literacy training, The Comeback Collective aims to fill in gaps in existing support systems with courses, curriculum and interactive discussions.

Giving mom her best start, Lilac Pack provides new moms care packages for nursing goals and recovery from child birth with products that are mom-picked and doctor-approved. Helping moms doesn’t stop with Lilac Pack’s products. The company will hire low-income moms at a living wage, providing an additional stipend for childcare so she doesn’t have to choose between having a family and providing for one.

Family Mentor Foundation introduces the MeeBox, a collection of tools and resources that teach social and emotional concepts to children. Including items like a workbook, resistance towel, journal and voice recorder, The MeeBox is a buy one, give one service, subsidizing boxes for those in need.

Willowbeez SoulVeg received $11,000 for its vegan pop-up and catering operation. Bringing fresh foods to underserved communities, Willowbeez wants to impact high rates of preventable disease through healthy eating. The enterprise will not only focus on the food, but education through its wealth & wellness booklet, food demos and more.

Fit to Navigate was awarded $12,600, plus an additional $2,000 for being crowned the crowd favorite. The social enterprise is also tackling recidivism by helping incarcerated women earn their personal training certification. In an industry conducive to fair chance employment, women can create opportunities for themselves at a living wage, and have flexibility as heads of households.

Bonifier’s Pip received $24,500 in funding to continue build out of its flagship mobile app that provides emotional support to hospitalized children. Addressing the fear, anxiety and loneliness experienced by children treated as in-patients, Pip will offer 24/7 support providing tools that don’t just distract, but administer therapeutic methodology that addresses the underlying cause of fears.

Easily connecting volunteers to opportunities, mobile app POINT secured the largest sum of funding totaling $36,900. Already available in the app store, POINT aims to eliminate the barriers to doing good for users, and also support the nonprofits they are helping along the way. POINT for Charities provides a monthly subscription service for its volunteer management system priced based on volunteers needed.

For more information on SEA Change, visit seachng.org